INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam of Colorado and two-time Stanford runner-up Andrew Luck topped a list of 21 former players and coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame class of This year.
The National Football Foundation announced the new inductees on Monday. The ceremony is scheduled for December 6.
Salaam played for Colorado and won college football’s most prestigious award in 1994 after rushing for a school record 2,055 yards and 24 touchdowns. He played six seasons in the NFL and finished with 1,625 yards and 13 scores.
He died on December 5, 2016, in what was considered suicide. He was 42 years old.
Salaam’s death focused on mental health, a message that still resonates today.
“Rashaan left five years ago, and it’s still difficult to deal with,” his mother, Khalada Salaam-Alaji, said in a statement. “I wish Rashaan had always been there so he could use this wonderful recognition to take charge of mental and physical health issues. His entry into the College Hall of Fame is a good thing, but there is so much serious social work that needs to be done on this side for our children and this planet. If Rashaan were here I think he would appreciate this honor and the celebration of his induction into the National Football College Football of Fame.
Luck was second in Heisman’s votes in 2010 and 2011 before the Indianapolis Colts selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft. Luck and Chuck Ealey of Toledo are the only quarterbacks in this year’s class. .
They will be joined by Penn State linebacker LaVar Arrington, who won the Butkus and Bednarik awards in 1999, and Georgia defensive back Champ Bailey, who was elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 2019.
The focus was also on offensive and defensive linemen. Alabama center Sylvester Croom, who later became the Southeastern Conference’s first black football coach, topped the list.
Illinois defensive tackle Moe Gardner, Illinois State linebacker Boomer Grigsby, Michigan defensive tackle Mark Messner, Alcorn State center Dennis Thomas and Nebraska offensive lineman Zach Wiegert were also selected for induction.
Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, Ohio goaltender Mike Doss, LSU running back Kevin Faulk, Oregon State wide receiver Mike Hass, Florida State linebacker Marvin Jones, Oklahoma State running back Terry Miller and Oklahoma defensive back Roy Williams round out the roster.
Three coaches – John Luckhardt of Washington & Jefferson (Pa.), Billy Jack Murphy of Memphis and Gary Pinkel, who has coached in Toledo and Missouri – will also be honored in December.
Salaam’s selection will define this Hall of Fame class.
“The first thing that always comes to mind when you think of Rashaan is that he was an all-around player,” former Colorado coach Bill McCartney said. “A careful and fast competitive spirit, off the charts. He could run inside, he could run outside, he could catch the ball, he could block with the best of them. When we recruited him we knew that along the way, if we could get him, we would get a diamond – someone really special.
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